When you’re looking for MI OLA ambassador Adrienne (@yokeens), you’ll find her in the water in the Outer Banks (OBX), or out traveling the world. In February, Adrienne traveled to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico for a tropical escape. Here’s her take on getting out there in Aguadilla.
#GetOutThere Guide Puerto Rico: Shacks Beach (Isabella)
Living in the Outer Banks offers months of beautiful weather, but during the winter it can get a little cold so it’s a perfect time to travel! Puerto Rico is the perfect get away as it offers awesome weather, great surf, and plenty of jungle to explore. Plus, it’s a quick and usually cheap flight! In February, I took off to Aguadilla in Puerto Rico for warm weather and to celebrate my 30th birthday!
What to Do:
There are multiple spots to surf in this area. The surf spots here are point breaks, meaning the wave is breaking from a certain point each time, which is most likely over reef or rock. Each spot, depending on the conditions, will vary in size. They will be listed in small to BIG (but of course this could all change depending on weather/swell).
Playa Rompe Olas: This is a small break located in downtown Aguadilla. It breaks from a rock, but is a sandy bottom! Paddle out and sit by the rock for the best ride. There is a line up so be sure to use surfer etiquette and be aware of the locals. Mid to long boards would work here nicely. There is a nice beach with a bar across the street. This beach tends to busy especially on a holiday Monday. Don’t leave anything on the beach unattended as it could get stolen and don’t leave anything important visible in your car.
Wilderness beach: Getting to Wilderness beach is a challenge as the road is dirt and has major pot holes. Use caution! (We did make it to the parking area in a rental Hyundai Elantra.) The first peak right after the old lighthouse building will look really nice and most likely uncrowded. Here the waves can break left or right. There is sand walk in, but the rest is rock/reef. Getting out of the water in the right spot is tricky (I got sea urchined). There was a lot of current when we went, so we were paddling just to stay in the same spot. The second and most popular peak will be bigger and more crowded. Again, getting in and out is hard because there will be rock/reef with urchins. The third peak is a walk past the large dirt parking area is the smallest and best choice for fewer people and more manageable waves.
Shacks Beach: At Shacks, there is only a small parking area to access the beach. There are two main breaks. The one in front of Villa Sessions is better for SUPers as it has less push. For the other peak, walk down to the sandy point, hop in (watch for urchins), drift to the left of the exposed rock, and there is a point break that rips right. Careful, the reef here can get shallow and even fully exposed during low tides!
Playa Jobos: This is a popular spot. It’s located right off a busy road with plenty of bars! Try to find parking on the road or in one of the lots where you pay $5. The beach is popping. There’s a really great rock to the right where the waves hit and spray/explode (awesome picture opportunity!) To surf, get in near that rock and paddle out to the break – it breaks right. It’s a bit deeper here, but it does go over a reef. Beginners should stay on the inside and catch white water.
There is plenty to do in a short drive like explore downtown Isabella, Aguadilla and Rincon, with great road side food trucks along the way. The driving around here is fast with little rules so be alert!
Gozalandia Hiking Arena: Pathways to waterfalls and hiking in the jungle. The water is a little cold but you can jump from the waterfalls and a rope swing! Pay to park/enter.
Cabo Rojo: Located at the end of a dirt, pot hole filled road, this is a great way to spend the day! Bring water, picnic and set up on the beach after walking the trail that follows along the cliffs. Amazing views and the beach is white sand with beautiful flat warm water!
Snorkeling/diving, SUPing, yoga, jungle hikes, local eats and horseback rides are just a few other activities to enjoy in this area! US currency is used. Most people speak English or can understand. There are plenty of familiar stores like Walgreens if you forget anything from home. Be sure to stop at any gas station to try the Gasolina drink (adult juice box)!
How To Get There:
Fly into Aguadilla Airport (BQN). Aguadilla is a tiny airport that pretty much only has flights that arrive at 1AM, BUT it will be cheap and literally 5 minutes to Shacks Beach.
How to Get Around:
There are rental cars here, but be sure to call and reserve ahead as there is a tendency to run out of cars! Be prepared with travel plans because flights are often delayed. Otherwise you can fly into San Juan airport, which will have more options, but be a 2 hour drive. Also, bring surf straps to put boards on roof of car!
Where to Stay:
We stayed at Villa Sessions which is a condo right on Shacks Beach, steps away from a beautiful and fairly secluded beach. The condo is fully furnished, air conditioned, and safe! I took beach walks every morning, surfed, laid out and snorkeled here (crystal clear waters with tons of wildlife steps off shore). This location offers great SUP, surf and snorkel sessions with a much smaller crowd/line up then other spots.
When to Go:
We went at the end of February and the weather was amazing! We actually got some rain at night which is unusual, but during the day it was sunny and warm with a slight breeze so we were never over heated. Average air temperatures are high 70s to low 80s, basically year round. It does get into the high 80s in summer months (May-Sept). So best time to go will be winter months (Nov-April).